Motivation; April 15, 2020


John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John, writing several years after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke had been circulating, wanted to fill in some of the blanks left by those accounts, as it says in verse 30, but his motivation is expressed here. And what a motivation it is! It should be one of the primary motivations of every believer. As self-centered as we are, we tend to be satisfied with our own salvation, forgetting that God loves the person next to us just as much as He does us. Love, by definition, wants to fulfill the desires of the one loved, so if we really love God, we should be working to introduce as many people as possible to Him, so that they too may believe and become His children. That we so generally fail to do that betrays the shallowness of our love for God. Here John is talking about what he has written, but this applies to far more than writing. The words we speak and the actions we take should be empowered by this same motivation. It all comes back to the two commandments Jesus specified: loving God and loving our neighbor. (Matthew 22:36-40) If we love God we will want Him to be happy, and since we want eternal life for ourselves, if we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we will do all we can to bring him to eternal life. We really don’t think those two commandments through most of the time. I have said for many years that if every believer really knew who and what they were in Christ, the world would be transformed, and I remain convinced of that. We have so little grasp of what it really is to be a child of God! Right now with COVID-19 the whole world is being given an opportunity to reexamine their daily lives. Everyone is eager to “return to normal,” but what “normal” do we return to? If all of this causes any significant fraction of even the Christians (who are a fraction of the total) to return to Biblical principles for daily living, then the world will be a far better place for having gone through all of this.

This of course applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I have already dedicated my life to sharing the Gospel as a pastor, but my efficiency certainly hasn’t been very high. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to fine-tune my words and my actions to make them more effective. I have long said that I wanted to plan like I would live to at least 100, but live so that it would be fine to leave today. Likewise, my hesitation in asking the Lord to come back soon is that there are so many around me who are far from ready for that, and I want to take them with me before the Lord. I identify fully with what Paul said in Philippians 1:21-24. God has really been working on my motivations, and for that I am deeply grateful.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Show me what to do about it! It’s very appropriate as we have our annual business meeting Sunday that we would be thinking about why we are here. I pray that You would guide me in expressing this challenge to the believers, so that together we may seek Your will for how we are to communicate the Good News of the Kingdom in this new fiscal year. We tend to get sidetracked by financial considerations in one way or another. Help us seek Your will first, knowing that where You guide, You provide. We have a pretty spotty track record in that area to this point! May we rejoice to be Your children but not be satisfied with just us being Your children, so that many more may be drawn into Your family, Your life, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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